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Brewer Job Description, Career as a Brewer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training:— College degree in science required.

Salary: Median— $46,000 annually

Employment Outlook:— Fair

Brewers are primarily responsible for making beer. They are involved with the entire process of creating alcoholic beverages and fuels. Their chief duties include selecting and checking the malted barley or grain which will be used in the preparation of a particular kind of beer, adding yeast, hops, water, and other necessary ingredients, checking the fermentation rate, and monitoring the pH values and temperature throughout the process of brewing. Brewers also need to keep a check on the quality of beer both before and after filtration. In addition, they may be required to operate a milling machine, clean and sterilize the brew tanks, filtering equipment, and carbonating machines, as well as perform regular repairs on the machinery.

The job of brewers does not end with just the production of beer. They also need to package the beer, monitor production expenses, and interact with other brewers, suppliers, and customers. In some cases, they may be asked to deliver the beer as well.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to take up the profession of brewing, one needs to have a degree in organic chemistry, food science and biotechnology, chemical or process engineering, or microbiology. Brewers are mostly trained while on the job, and once this period of training is over, one can opt for diploma courses in brewing. There are a number of colleges and private institutes that offer degree and diploma programs to brewers.

Brewers can also opt for the Master Brewer Examination in order to gain further qualifications. Since the profession requires extensive training, it might prove useful if a brewer has prior experience in the food processing or dairy technology industry.

Getting the Job

Both small and large breweries recruit brewers for a variety of job roles. One may be involved in laboratory work, or specialize in one specific area of the brewing industry. Most organizations advertise their job openings in newspapers and the Internet. One can also sign in to online forums for brewers. This is a great place to meet prospective employers. It might also be a good idea to approach local breweries directly and look up openings with them.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement in this career depends on a number of things. Based on the size of the brewery, the work may be laboratory based, technical, or production management based. Initially, brewers need to start out by training under experienced professionals. With expertise, one can begin managing a team of brewery workers, and eventually become head brewers.

Progression as a brewer entails a combination of knowledge, skills, and personal qualities. Brewers should not only have a complete understanding of the raw materials used in brewing, and the quality control methods, but should also be able to analyze the test samples. In addition, it is necessary to have an awareness of the relevant laws and regulations. Advancement opportunities can also be bettered if one has knowledge of industrial law.

Employment outlook for brewers is expected to be fair in the next few years. Even though the sales figures for this beverage are pretty high, job opportunities can be limited due to increasing automation in most of the breweries. However, the global demand for brewers is on the rise, and skilled professionals are much sought after.

Working Conditions

Brewers are mostly employed in small craft breweries, brew houses, brew pubs, and laboratories. They need to handle different kinds of equipment like hoses, brewing vessels, carbonating machines, packaging machinery, and computers. The work environment can be cold, wet, hot, and noisy, and brewers may frequently have to work in enclosed spaces like brewing vessels and tanks.

The job profile also features frequent travel. One may have to go overseas to attend training sessions, or visit plants in different states. Brewers usually work regular 40-hour weeks, but may be on shift duty. They may also be required to work through weekends. During the peak seasons, it is not uncommon to have 60-hour work weeks.

Where to Go for More Information

Brewers Association
736 Pearl Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302

Master Brewers Association of the Americas
3340 Pilot Knob Road
St. Paul, Minnesota 55121-2097

New York State Brewers Association
P.O. Box 656,
Cazenovia, New York 13035

North American Brewers Association

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

The median annual salaries of brewers in the United States are around $46,000. Salaries vary from one place of employment to the other, and also depend on whether a brewer is employed part-time or full-time. According to reports of 2006, brewers working regular 40-hour weeks earned between $40,000 and $60,000 every year. However, with experience, salaries can go up to $80,000. In fact, some head brewers are reported to earn around $120,000 per year.

Brewers at large companies typically enjoy perks like paid leaves and vacations, health insurance, as well as life insurance coverage. Those working part-time have the benefit of flexible work hours.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesManufacturing & Production